September 10, 2017 (KHARTOUM)- In a recent meeting with the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North al-Hilu (SPLM-N al-Hilu) explained its position on the self-determination reiterated its commitment to the unity of Sudan, said an African Union official on Sunday.
In March 2017, the Nuba Mountains Liberation Council (NMLC) rejected the resignation of al-Hilu from his position as the SPLM-N deputy chairman and announced its support to the right of self-determination, and refused to disband the SPLA-N during the interim period.
Furthermore, the NMLC decided to remove Yasir Arman from the position of secretary general and chief negotiator of the rebel group in support of al-Hilu who accused Arman of accepting the dissolution of the Movement’s army during the transitional period and refusing to include the self-determination in the SPLM-N’s position paper to the negotiations.
The two tools are seen by al-Hilu as the only guarantee for the full implementation of any peace agreement they would sign with the government.
Mahmoud Kan, AU representative in Khartoum, told the semi-official Sudanese Media Center (SMC) that the SPLM-N al-Hilu delegation held a “successful meeting” with the AUHIP mediators in Addis Ababa on 28 August.
Regarding the self-determination, Kan said the delegation explained that this claim is intended to address the root causes of the crisis in the Two Areas and does not mean to separate from Sudan.
The SPLM-N al-Hilu wants “a Sudan united on the basis of the Movement’s conditions related to the recognition of religious rights and particularities of the people in the Two Areas, the rights of people in the Two Areas (for developments) and not to apply the Islamic law on Christians in the two Areas,” the African Union official said according to SMC.
The Sudanese government called on the SPLM-N al-Hilu to resume negotiations under the auspice of African mediators but the rebel group says its priority for the time been is to hold a general conference next October and adopt new programme and structures before negotiations.
Khartoum stresses its readiness to resume talks on the basis of a framework agreement signed with the SPLM-N negotiating team headed by Arman.
But it is not clear whether it would accept the addition of clauses of self-determination and maintaining the SPLA-N during an interim period.